© 2018

Sociology through Relation

Theoretical Assessments from the French Tradition


  • Presents novel theoretical arguments in the sub-field of relational sociology

  • Discusses authors who are central to the discipline (Durkheim and Bourdieu) while bringing in analyses of more peripheral but still important thinkers (Mauss and Latour) and resurrecting marginal theorists

  • Compares and contrasts different voices in the history of French sociology


Part of the Palgrave Studies in Relational Sociology book series (PSRS)

About this book


This book delivers a top-down understanding of relation as a macro-phenomenon in society. This understanding rests on the reconstruction of an ongoing debate in the French tradition about the purpose of a relational perspective in sociology and the social sciences. Christian Papilloud analyzes the cardinal steps of this debate, which historically relate to the concept of solidarity, expressing an ideal of social cohesion through relationships between personal and non-personal actors. In social theory, it is well-known that solidarity refers to Emile Durkheim. But little is known about the controversies generated in relation to the purpose of a relational perspective in sociology. Papilloud reconstructs and follows the most important of these controversies in a comparative perspective, beginning with Emile Durkheim and Gaston Richard on solidarity, Richard and Marcel Mauss on sacrifice and magic, Mauss and Pierre Bourdieu on gift and social positions, Bourdieu and Bruno Latour on the objects of exchanges and institutions, and Latour and Durkheim on reciprocity and control. These comparisons give shape to a theoretical framework for a 'sociology through relation.


French sociology theoretical frame general purpose theory relational contemporary social theory classical social theory Emile Durkheim Gaston Richard Marcel Mauss Pierre Bourdieu Bruno Latour relational turn reciprocity solidarity relationality

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Institut f. SoziologieHalle-Wittenberg UniversityHalleGermany

About the authors

Christian Papilloud is a sociologist at the University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. He was written and edited several books and articles on the relational perspective in sociology based on the controversies between French and German scholars today and yesterday.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Sociology through Relation
  • Book Subtitle Theoretical Assessments from the French Tradition
  • Authors Christian Papilloud
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in Relational Sociology
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in Relational Sociology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-65072-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-87943-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-65073-9
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VIII, 271
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Social Theory
    Sociological Theory
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences
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